Sandwich Chain Take A Bite Out Of Homelessness
Pret-A-Manger, the national sandwich shop chain, is taking its commitment to homelessness charities one step further by hiring 25 homeless youngsters.
Pret chief executive Clive Schlee told the London Evening Standard the scheme was built:
… on the company’s longstanding policy of distributing sandwiches and drinks to hostels and homelessness charities.
He said Pret decided it would be better to help stop people falling into homelessness in the first place “and the best way to do that is to give someone a job”.
The firm is working with eight organisations – including Shelter from the Storm in Islington, St Mary-le-Bow in the City, and St Mungo’s, which has hostels all over London – to find apprentices.
The new apprentices are taken on for a trial three month period, given £100 to buy jeans and leather shoes and paid the normal rate of £6.15 an hour plus a possible £1 an hour bonus. So far, three quarters of those who started apprenticeships now have full-time jobs with Pret.
The Standard interviewed one of the new Pret apprentices, James Woodin.
One said the work had transformed his life. James Woodin, 22, grew up on a rough estate in Bromley and has had a criminal record from the age of 13.
He said that despite staying out of trouble for almost two years, his time in jail left him unemployable: “I would get interviews but I knew my application form was getting thrown in the bin as soon as I walked out of the door. Now I love what I’m doing, I love the people I work with: they’re like family to me. The manager’s like a surrogate mother. I want to be sitting where Clive is sitting one day.”